From the time we studied word origins in school, I’ve been fascinated with puzzling words together and the fusion of words on the printed page—their mouth-feel, their musicality, and the magic that can be created within the frame of white space. Poetry seems the perfect art form to bring it all together.
Growing up in western North Dakota, I feel deeply connected to our history, the poignant subtleties and often harsh life on the high plains and short grass prairies. Those ties to peoples, landscape, and the realities of our changing cultures and economies that make up the “New West” creep inexorably into my writing.
Most poets hope their work carries a universal thread of humanity to readers. My goal is to speak to that shared core within others who may or may not call this place home and to show this region as much more than fly-over country. This is the heart of a continent.
One thing is clear: there is little more powerful than the written word and I have an inordinate respect for the power of the pen.
Recently, my first chapbook, Destiny Manifested, was awarded the inaugural “Voices of the Plains and Prairies Poetry Prize” by North Dakota State University (NDSU) Press. It’s now available from Amazon and the online store: NDSU Press/Shop Now
Most of all, I love living on the edge of the Badlands.
Here, life is sweet and the sweet crude of oil production
is both sweet and crude. More on that in my new chapbook.
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The title poem from my chapbook:
Years after his failed attempt to take control of tiny Leith North Dakota and turn it into a haven for white supremacists and racists, Craig Cobb, convicted of terrorizing, is still buying up properties and land across the Midwest—Kansas, Nebraska, and Missouri.
Two centuries ago
white people came
to lay claim
His vision, illusion
to make the plains great
to colonize, capitalize
politicize, and nationalize.
Now you come
to sanitize, blacklist
black people, ridicule,
remove red people,
vs. Board of Education.
But you’re too late.
It’s already been done.